Category Archives: Glenglassaugh

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 2 – Malt Whisky Co’s “Craigmills” (Glenglassaugh), Sauternes matured


Region – Highlands – 59.3% ABV

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Glenglassaugh

I consider myself lucky with the fact that I’ve had the supreme honor and pleasure to spend time with Mr. Stuart Nickerson, Managing Director of The Malt Whisky Company. I first met Stuart when he was with Glenglassaugh and I was starting my own independent bottling company.  It was right around this time, as well, that I was doing a fun series of interviews on this blog and Stuart was nice enough to say “yes” when I asked if he would mind me interviewing him.

To check out the interview, click here.

As you’ll read from the interview, Stuart has had quite a history in Scotch whisky and he continues to make history now with his latest venture, The Malt Whisky Company.  Additionally, Stuart has become the Executive Director at Tipperary Boutique Distillery.

For more details on The Malt Whisky Company, click here.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar GlenglassaughOn to the whisky at hand:

Here we are, Dec 2nd. Yesterday we had a 15yo single sherry cask bottled by A.D. Rattray and today we’ve got an NAS, cask strength Sauternes matured Glenglassaugh which has been bottled at 59.3% ABV.

While NAS, the ABV tells me that this is likely some younger juice. This does not worry me one bit. Young whisky is where it’s at for me.

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarOn the nose — Yup, smells like some lovely, youthful, Glenglassaugh. Nice minerality on the nose.  Followed by layers of fresh apricots, golden raisins, cooked pecans, and perhaps a touch of wet paperboard.

The sauternes cask influence is quite clear here and offers a richness that compliments the youthful qualities such as clear notes of fresh cut pear, fruity floor cleaner (the kinds that smell so good you want to drink them but don’t because that’s just crazy, and it’d make you sick. I mean, what were you even thinking?!)

Scotch Whisky Advent CalendarIn the mouth — Incredibly sweet and as dense as a sticky bun. With time you can pick it apart, and when you do, I hope you’ll find: apricot jam, crushed filberts, olive oil spiciness toward the back of your throat, and honey over pears.  The mouthfeel is oily as heck.

Finish — Rich apricot sweetness that lasts quite a long time. Green peppercorns dance on the tongue for a time, too.

In sum — The flavors are so tight here, you really need a good 30 minutes to pull it all apart. This is a thinking wo/man’s dram, no doubt. You do not want to just toss this one back. Spend time with it, reveal its secrets. You’ll be happy you did.

Glenglassaugh’s latest official bottling – “Evolution” which is matured in George Dickel Tennessee whisky barrels


Highland region – 57.2%ABV – £57 | $93

Crack that whip / Give the past the slip / Step on a crack / Break your momma’s back

When a problem comes along
You must whip it

Before the cream sits out too long
You must whip it

When something’s going wrong
You must whip it

Now whip it, Into shape, Shape it up, Get straight, Go forward, Move ahead, Try to detect it, It’s not too late, To whip it.  Whip it good.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Devo as much as the next guy.  In fact, I likely love Devo way more than the next guy and think their music is quite genius but man, these lyrics go on and on and I never got them (but love the ever living snot out of the song).

I’m such a Devo-geek that as soon as I heard what Glenglassaugh was calling their 2nd bottling, Evolution, I thought of Devo.  (Who, by the way, got their band name from the concept of De-evolution – “the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society“.)

Whatevs – rock and roll!!

And now, perhaps my favorite version of The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction”:

Ok, enough with my love of the Devo, let’s get on with my new found love of the Evo(lution)!

Glenglassaugh-1On the nose –  Another “confident” whisky here.

To start, a great and somewhat forceful interplay between churned butter, oodles of butterscotch and fresh white grapefruit.

Heaps of white pepper and vanilla wrapped in saran wrap and all warmed up (yes, this is a warming nose).

Glenglassaugh-2Did I mention butterscotch?  Yes, I did.  Just above.  It’s well worth another mention though…

Barley cakes & oat cakes.  Light lemon notes and soft leather gloves.

Glenglassaugh-4On the mouth – Perhaps it should have been called “Explosion.”  This dram bursts with that now classic Next-Gen Glenglassaugh fruity character.

It is, however, tempered quite well with the very Tennessee oak characteristics of vanilla, honey and spice.

Light malt laden flavors now and back again with white pepper and a bit of that grapefruit I got on the nose.

Glenglassaugh-3Oh. So. Butterscotchy.

Medium oil-like texture with some citrus zing on the sides of the tongue.

Finish – Heavy wood spice, toasted oak, long and slightly bourbony.

In sum – I bought a bottle the day it hit the Glenglassaugh store.  I had to have it.  Glenglassaugh matured in George Dickel barrels?  No brainer.

I obviously wanted to do a formal review of the whisky but went through half the bottle before I took actual notes (mainly because I just wanted to enjoy the whisky without dissecting it).  Like George Dickel, this is great sippin’ whisky.  Perfect for sitting on your porch or deck and letting the hours pass by…

Normally I do not like to mix cigars with my malts but I imagine this would go quite well with a cigar.  Perhaps a mild bodied one.

To Glenglassaugh, this whisky is an evolution in their new story (and a great story it is!)  For you as the consumer, this whisky is all about a little you time.  Relaxing times.  At only 6,000 bottles, you may want to to grab a bottle fast!

You may be interested in Oli’s notes on


Glenglassaugh 45yo bottled at 49.2% ABV

Highland region – 49.2%ABV – Best of luck finding a bottle.  And if you do, expect to pay about $2000/bottle.

With release after release of old Glenglassaugh, there would seem to be no shortage of the stuff.

The previous sentence could not be further from the truth.

What makes a whisky such as this so very precious is that it’s from Glenglassaugh’s stocks of 400 (more or less) older casks.

True rarity – hence the hefty price tag.

People go nuts over older whiskies – the older the better right?  Not true, good people.  Sometimes a whisky an hit its prime at the young age of 3, 4 or 5 years old.  Or, if not at its prime, still damn tasty, complex and balanced.  However as whiskies get older they run the chance of getting over oaked, too drying and just… blech.

I’ve yet to run into that problem with the older Glenglassaughs I’ve had so far (in fact, they’ve all been *quite* stellar – especially the first Chosen Few release).  Let’s see how this one held up to the test of time:

On the nose  A wonderfully sweet nose, if not a touch hot, with other scents mixed in such as Connecticut shade tobacco leaves, sugar cane and near ripe white flesh peach.

Chocolate covered marzipan.

(Good) oak and spice, spice and (good) oak.

A slight wine-like note that was floating a top it all but now seems a bit more forward.

On the mouth Oily texture yet drying fairly quickly.

Not hot like the nose initially suggested.  I love the strength of this whisky.

Oak and grape skins are evident but lying just beneath those flavors is a stone fruit compote.

Perhaps a touch of cola syrup and the slightest amount of fennel (slight).

Finish Shiraz like spice – not sure why I keep getting these wine like notes in here but, I like it.

In sum A bit drying but not overly so, especially for a 45 year old whisky.  Very enjoyable, warming and balanced quite well.  Something to enjoy with a good book.

Special thanks to RS for the sample!

The Revival of Glenglassaugh!!

Highlands Region – 46%ABV – US price forthcoming but you can pre-order it at for just shy of £36

“Revival” is fitting name for Glenglassaugh’s initial offering of whisky from the newly re-opened distillery.  Many of the details of the make up of this whisky could not be shared.  I do know, however, that there is a mixture of 1st and 2nd fill casks that were then married up in 1st fill sherry butts for 6 months (which adds to the beautiful color that you see to the right and to the flavor of course).  Bottled at 46% ABV, this is a non-chill filtered whisky with zero caramel coloring added.

After many different spirit offerings from Glenglassaugh (on top of Glenglassaugh’s older whisky offerings), Glenglassaugh – under it’s new management – has finally released a 3yo whisky.

Congrats to Stuart, Ronnie and the rest of the team at GlenG!!

Thanks, too, to Ronnie R for both the preview and official samples!!

I’m not sure why but when I hear about a distillery re-opening I imagine those reopening to talk much like this (I know if I were them, I would!):

Glenglassaugh Revival Preview Sample:

On the nose –  Fruity pear jam spread over well buttered crumpets.

Salty brine-like quality.

Baked pears.  The youth of this almost-whisky is apparent but so is the cask influence.

There’s a Rose-ness to this – a semi-dry Rose on a summer day.

There’s a vanilla/creme brulle essence that most certainly came from some bourbon barrels.

On the mouth – Like fresh pear flesh however, this is quite peppery as well.

Warmed butter and unripened stone fruits.

A touch drying along the sides of the tongue.

Finish – Peppery and a bit winey (again, that Rose-like flavor).

Much longer than you’d think given its age.

Glenglassaugh Revival Retail Sample:

On the nose –  Very similar to the pre-release but with less of a salty element to it and more of a fruit element.

More of the Rose-ness here.  However, something I didn’t get on the pre-release are notes of cracked black pepper and some stone fruits like apricot and white flesh peach.

On the mouth – More “present” than the pre-release.  Full of pears and dried apricot.

Peppery and effervescent but also, and this can not be overlooked, VERY sweet with an underlying salty quality and a touch of brown spices that offer up what I find to be a very balanced little dram!

The beauty of the Glenglassaugh spirit and choice of casks really seem to compliment each other.

Finish – Drying and full of dried fruits and fresh, unripened ones.  A lasting peppery finish.

In sum – I’m am very impressed with both of the preview spirit sample and the full-fledged WHISKY sample.  I plan on keeping a bottle of this on the shelf.  It’s a no-brainer whisky that is both challenging (there is a lot to tease out of here) but also, just a nice-nice summer dram.  Kudos to Mr. Stuart Nickerson.  Well done, good sir!

In case you’ve not seen it, I had the good opportunity to interview Stuart Nickerson of Glenglassaugh a while back.  Here’s part one, here’s part two – I greatly enjoyed this interview and I hope you do, too!

Tasting three Glenglassaughs – 28yo, 36yo and 37yo single cask, cask strength whiskies

There are many whisky writers/bloggers and statisticians that will tell you that we are in a golden age of whisky.  Sales of the Scotch whisky have soared in 2011 over 2010.  Micro-distilleries are popping up all over the place in the US.  Sales of both Irish and Canadian whiskies are growing by leaps and bounds AND more and more countries are starting to distill and sell their whiskies worldwide (France, Taiwan, Sweden, New Zealand, South Africa… just to name a few).

If you’re a whisky geek/anorak like me, then perhaps you’re equally excited about another aspect of whisky growth – specifically in Scotch Whisky – and that is the reopening of previously closed or “moth-balled” distilleries.  I am, of course, referring to Glenglassaugh today.

Mothballed in 1983, Glenglassaugh was reopened in 2008 and is about to launch their first Whisky expression later this year.  It’s a NAS (no age statement), yet 3yo, whisky simply called “Revival”.  (a review of that is forthcoming)

Three years ago when Stuart Nickerson bought the distillery, along with the facility, equipment, buildings, warehouse buildings, etc… he got just over 400 casks of whisky as part of the deal.  Think about it, just over 400 casks of whisky.  Compare that to some of the larger warehouses that have up to 80,000 casks… only 400 casks?!  Talk about hens teeth!!   And all of those cask are holding older whiskies (doing the math — moth-balled in 1983 and there’s nothing younger than 28/29 years old in that older stock).

Today we’re reviewing some of that old juice  With such limited stock and all of it being “older” stuff, you can imagine that it’s going to be quite pricey.  We’ve got a 28yo, 36yo and a 37yo – all are single cask, cask strength bottlings.  Let’s see what we get from them:

Glenglassaugh 28 year old “Master Distiller’s Select 1983 Sherrywood” – 49.8%ABV£180

On the nose –  A bit shy on the nose.  I’m going to give this one a little time to open up.  Maybe swirl it around in the glass a bit…

Lightly sweet and a bit peppery and even a tad herbaceous.  This is now opening right for me. That pepper is really coming through and there’s a very jam like quality to the nose (red fruits?).

Added to that are notes I usually associate with Japanese whiskies (mizunara oak and a high sweet note) like green tea (sweetened, however) and pipe tobacco.  Sweet tobacco leaves – fresh.

Some late autumn apples and soft notes of smoke in the background.

On the mouth – Oily and mouth coating.  Warm and melty – reminds me of salted caramels.  Very chewy stuff.

Baked apple is here too (macintosh).

Plastic cafeteria trays and freshly opened CD cases – picking that a part a bit and it’s a flavor that matches the smell of fresh paper and hard plastic (I do like the smell of fresh, new paper).

Imitation chocolate (slight and somewhat spicy like a chocolate Necco wafer).    Also, and I don’t know how I did not find it from the get-go, black grapes.

Finish – Medium long with notes of… taking that back, long!!  The flavors burst back with notes of oak and vanilla and spice.

In sum – Take time with this one.  If I just jumped into it I would have been a bit let down.  Some patience let this one open up in a very nice way.  This is 28 years old so, give it time.  Show it some respect and you’ll be rewarded.  Take a big breath.  Let the crap of the day roll over you.  Pour some of this.  Take another breath and start to enjoy.


“Aged of 30 years”, 36 year old – 43%ABV (spending 34yrs in a refill hogshead then 2 years in an ex-Sauternes barrique) £400.

On the nose –  Savory and comforting with loads of marzipan, flaky pie crust and even butternut squash soup.

Autumn leaves both burnt and freshly fallen.

I’m also picking up notes of Naugahyde (pleather) and water balloons.

Menthol too?  There’s some serious notes of 1974.

I’m now getting notes of baked potato, white pepper and chives – This is a very “foodie” whisky.

On the mouth – A bit watery on the attack (sort of like one of those water balloons I detected popped).

Soft in the mouth and less watery on the second sip – spicy too.

Sweet spiced chocolate covered marzipan (almond paste).

Rhubarb pie (minus the strawberries) – sweet and buttery.

Finish – Short finish yet drying.

In sum – No doubt about it – an absolute killer nose.  A joy to jam my sniffer in the glass.  The attack and over all experience on the palate seemed a bit restrained though, at 43%, it is at natural cask strength.  This would be a good one to to enjoy on a cool fall night by the fire with some John Fahey playing in the background.  I’m still thinking about the nose of this whisky.  Stunning.


Glenglassaugh “Master Distiller’s Select” 37 year old, Sherry Cask – 56%ABV (exclusive to the North American Market)$599

On the nose –  Aggressive (well, it IS 56% ABV).  Hot, hot tea with a side of biscuit and Seville orange marmalade (course cut).

Balsamic vinegar reduction and a used bookstore.

Some nice bourbon qualities come through – vanilla, pencil shavings (I know I use this note a lot but it’s the first that comes to my mind).

A bit hot on the nose but not overly so.  Just enough to notice (similar to the slight burn I get when nosing Knob Creek 9yo which is bottled at 50%ABV).

On the mouth – Amazing mouthfeel – oily and warm but the flavor is like licking some of those used books I smelled earlier.

Sort of heavenly for me!!  Used book is in my top 5 for favorite scents.

There are other flavors in here to be discovered, however.

Big, bold and spicy, this whisky seems to demand your attention.  A bit winey/tannic and oaky yet still vibrant and engaging with a bit of effervescent zing on the back of the tongue.

Finish – Medium in length, drying in effect and winey and spicy in flavor.

In sum – A massive whisky.  Perhaps my favorite of the three on the whole.  This hits all of my high points and I would love to sip on this then next chance I get.  That being said, I’m currently taking donations.  No amount is too small.  Thanks 🙂

Special thanks goes out to RR for the samples!

Jason over at also had the 36 & 37 yos and seemed to enjoy them as well.